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Spalding's Guide to Optimizing your GM


Advice


7 people marked this as a favorite.

Spalding's Guide to Optimizing your GM

There is of course more to follow, and I'm always willing to listen to more ideas on the topic.

So I hope this helps people and as always feel free to leave feedback.


One thing I do when I GM that helps me concentrate on combat is to have one of the players run the initiative counter. I have also noticed that players do not skip anyone's turn nearly as much as any GM has, including myself. Sometimes someone's turn is about to come up and something will happen, and we will come back to the game, forgetting that the player never had a chance to do anything. Other times something such as holding an action may throw us off.


Yup, I have noticed that too, that's why it's in there.

It's in the "Things you can do to make your GM's life easier" section.


Abraham spalding wrote:

Yup, I have noticed that too, that's why it's in there.

It's in the "Things you can do to make your GM's life easier" section.

I missed that one. I will read it again to make sure I did not miss anything else.


No problem -- I had to double check myself. I know there is stuff I have missed. This would be my 60~70% mark honestly. It's got all the ideas there (with the main point being communication) but there is all those little things that makes the game go smoother that I still intend to add.


Bump.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Looking forward to giving this a read when I have the chance.

Silver Crusade

Great stuff in there!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Other helpful hints:

Kick in

Just because the GM is assuming the planning burden does not mean that he/she should also assume the financial burden as well.

One solution we used for "worlds largest Dungeon" was to have each player kick in a share, adding up to half the cost of the book, and the GM kicked in the other half, with the caveat that he kept it when the campaign was over.

We've also had players bring food, minis, battlemats, books, or whatever.

Option paralysis
Sometimes, the GM won't know how to rule on something. Players are remarkably inventive. You -could- look through book after book for an official rule, but that means you're looking for rules, when you could be playing Pathfinder.

For low-stakes decisions, we've often run with 1-3 it works, 4-6 it fails, and looked the exact rule up between games.


Hey Anon,

Generally I don't recommend spending money. It's just not something I actually cover in my guides.

Option Paralysis is a problem I might put into the GM behaviors.

Scarab Sages

Switch it up
If your GM has been running back to back campaigns, he may actually like to play as a PC the next time. Some people prefer to GM some to be a PC, but either way doing both makes you better at whichever you prefer more as you gain perspective. Perspective your GM may desperately need.

Don't be Tone Deaf
When you're invited to a home game, make sure you discuss the tone of the playstyle the GM and existing party expect. Similarly, when you're setting up a home game, try to build a consensus on the tone.
Will this be a mimosas, brunch, and bawdy jokes sorta game?
Is it a very professional atmosphere? Are there existing player tensions/relationships you need to be aware of?
Is it to be very realistic ("did you pack your bedroll, rations, campfire, etc") or are things hand waived ("okay, you set up camp, what's your watch rotation?")?
Having the GM on the same page as the players will make a much more enjoyable experience. It doesn't mean rules conflicts won't get heated, or it will hurt any less if your PC dies, but hopefully you won't be surprised.


I read through it (although as an almost total DM, more to see how much of it I agreed with), and I did have one question:
What stat are you suggesting that Rasputin dumped?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

You might need an etiquette section. I've banned more players for not interacting well with my home/wife than for anything to do with how they game.

If you help yourself to my food, if you leave trash everywhere, or especially if you're rude to my wife, we're done.


Anonymous Visitor 163 576 wrote:

You might need an etiquette section. I've banned more players for not interacting well with my home/wife than for anything to do with how they game.

If you help yourself to my food, if you leave trash everywhere, or especially if you're rude to my wife, we're done.

You know it's not even something I considered. But you do have a point. However I think if I was to do etiquette it would how have to be its own book.

However I am sure I can put some etiquette points in the "questions you should ask" section, as different groups handle food differently as well as where the game is ran and such.


Scythia wrote:

I read through it (although as an almost total DM, more to see how much of it I agreed with), and I did have one question:

What stat are you suggesting that Rasputin dumped?

You know what? You should go down to the gamer life or the games section and start the game "What stat did famous people dump?"

Because it seems a travesty to me that when I google "what stat did (x) dump?" I get no responses from gamers.


Abraham spalding wrote:
Scythia wrote:

I read through it (although as an almost total DM, more to see how much of it I agreed with), and I did have one question:

What stat are you suggesting that Rasputin dumped?

You know what? You should go down to the gamer life or the games section and start the game "What stat did famous people dump?"

Because it seems a travesty to me that when I google "what stat did (x) dump?" I get no responses from gamers.

I think I read too many threads in Off-Topic, my first thought was how quickly that could turn into an unruly political sniping thread.

Edit: I was asking because when you mentioned some DMs not liking low stat characters, you suggest Rasputin wouldn't be welcome. I was curious what low stat you thought would apply. Thinking about it now, I wonder if maybe you meant Raistlin?


Scythia wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:
Scythia wrote:

I read through it (although as an almost total DM, more to see how much of it I agreed with), and I did have one question:

What stat are you suggesting that Rasputin dumped?

You know what? You should go down to the gamer life or the games section and start the game "What stat did famous people dump?"

Because it seems a travesty to me that when I google "what stat did (x) dump?" I get no responses from gamers.

I think I read too many threads in Off-Topic, my first thought was how quickly that could turn into an unruly political sniping thread.

Edit: I was asking because when you mentioned some DMs not liking low stat characters, you suggest Rasputin wouldn't be welcome. I was curious what low stat you thought would apply. Thinking about it now, I wonder if maybe you meant Raistlin?

I did but if I was to suggest on Rasputin I would say charisma. People didn't like him. I would also suggest he had some traits/class features/feats that allowed him to use other stats for charisma skills.

He always struck me as one of those guys that rolled 5 18s and a 3.


I agree with most of your points, except for the idea that it's problematic if a GM doesn't buy into the idea that there are "appropriate" levels of wealth at given levels. That sort of thing can vary immensely from one campaign setting to another. I have run (and played in) games where it's important for characters to have a lot of opportunities to gain wealth. I have also been involved in games where wealth was a very rare thing, and it might take you several levels just to get the equivalent of 500 gp. It all depends on the world, society, etc.

When I GM, I lay everything out for the potential players before they commit to playing the game. That way they know if it will be a good match for them or not.


pickin_grinnin wrote:

I agree with most of your points, except for the idea that it's problematic if a GM doesn't buy into the idea that there are "appropriate" levels of wealth at given levels. That sort of thing can vary immensely from one campaign setting to another. I have run (and played in) games where it's important for characters to have a lot of opportunities to gain wealth. I have also been involved in games where wealth was a very rare thing, and it might take you several levels just to get the equivalent of 500 gp. It all depends on the world, society, etc.

When I GM, I lay everything out for the potential players before they commit to playing the game. That way they know if it will be a good match for them or not.

Which goes back to the questions to ask I think but yes you can run a game which wealth plays a back seat, but if that wasn't put out before hand, and your GM is expecting you to keep up with the CR scaling, and you are a level 5 fighter with a club leather armor and a shield going against trolls without alchemical weapons you are more than a little screwed.

Again like I said in the starting area of GM behaviors though, if your GM is doing this, and no one is having a problem and everyone is having fun don't sweat it.


Agree on the home etiquette thing. Some basic pointers would be good.

Rasputin probably dumped Int, maybe Dex. He was physically very tough (he's in the 1E AD&D DMG as an example of 18 Con, probably good strength as well), and you don't get to be a Tsarina's advisor for decades without charisma and perceptiveness (Wis). People hated him because he was sleeping with their wives, or in their way somehow, not because he was personally a klutz.

Or maybe he was built on a 25-point buy in a 10-point-buy world....


So I started up a Home etiquette section.


Scythia wrote:

I did have one question:

What stat are you suggesting that Rasputin dumped?

Hygiene.


Arbane the Terrible wrote:
Scythia wrote:

I did have one question:

What stat are you suggesting that Rasputin dumped?
Hygiene.

And risk washing off his Royalty attracting funk? Not likely.

After thought, I think I figured it out: Comliness.


Abraham spalding wrote:
So I started up a Home etiquette section.

I look forward to reading your views on milk drinking.


hogarth wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:
So I started up a Home etiquette section.
I look forward to reading your views on milk drinking.

If you are lactose intolerance take your meds first.

Other than that I prefer drinking milk out of actual glass and shaking it before I pour, it just tastes better to me that way.

But other than that as long as it's your milk, or you asked and received permission first I don't really care how you drink it beyond not making a mess (or fixing the mess when you are done).

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